9/25/23 Update: free mail delivery orders have resumed on the USPS COVID test order website and deliveries will restart the week of 9/25/23. There is a limit of one order per residential address. Each order will include 4 rapid antigen COVID-19 tests. The Biden administration was able to reappropriate previous COVID funds and stockpiled tests for this new round of delivery, but it’s not clear how many tests have been allocated or how long this round of free tests will last. Before placing new orders, look into COVID-19 test shelf-life extensions on any old kits you still have to see if they are still viable.
12/19/22 Update: a new round of free mail delivery orders of 4 new test kits have temporarily resumed until funds are depleted.
9/2/22 Update: as of 9/2/2022, the funding for COVID test shipments from the USPS has been depleted, and the USPS has at least temporarily suspended shipping tests. In a newer article, I detail how to get free COVID tests after this big change. Related note: you can still get free COVID vaccines, but funding is running out and this could change soon.
Back in January, I detailed how to get free COVID tests in the United States. The U.S. government has organized 3 different ways to get subsidized COVID testing to all Americans. The most popular of the 3 methods for many has been to simply order the tests from the federal government through the USPS, but the number of free tests was limited to 4 per residential address. Starting this week, U.S. households can now order a 5th round of free rapid antigen COVID tests per residential address through the USPS.
The site that covers the 3 different free test options, covidtests.gov, now states,
Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home tests from USPS.com. Here’s what you need to know about your order:
How to Place an Order of Free COVID Tests through the USPS
In order to place your 4th order of COVID tests through the USPS, you can do so at special.usps.com/testkit where you only need to submit your name and address (email address is optional for shipping confirmation and status updates) in order to place the order.
Here are the full details on the tests (what you’ll get) and the logistics:
- Test Type: rapid antigen, at-home self tests (no drop-off needed)
- Length of Time for Test Results: 30 minutes
- Insurance Status: insured or uninsured individuals (anyone)
- Cost: $0 (no cost)
- Quantity: limit of 4 tests “per residential address” (4 tests sent per each order)
- When: new orders started 9/25/23
- How Long to Receive: Estimated processing/shipping time is roughly 7-12 days for the first order. I believe that I received my first round of tests at about the 10 day mark.
Should You Place Another Order of Free COVID Tests?
While you can place your 2nd free COVID test order, that doesn’t mean that you necessarily should. If you live in a larger household (e.g. 4+ members) or you have already used your original allotment of free COVID tests, it likely makes sense to order your 4th round. However, if you live in a smaller household and are still sitting on a few tests from your first order, you may want to hold off on ordering a 2nd round until you deplete your original round.
I personally haven’t used the 4 original tests that I had received, so I won’t be placing an order at the moment and probably will not until our household uses at least 2 of the 4 test kits. Use your own discretion and check for shelf-life extensions of any old kits you still have.